Five blogger heroes (sort of)

Dorothea Salo started it. Don’t let her tell you otherwise. I may have mused idly about a notion, without much form or structure, but I do a lot of that (not always in cyberprint, to be sure). Ms. Salo actually did something. There are blatherers and there are actors…

So here’s the thing. I wrote another version of this post last night. I believe I would have been second. But I’m taking the “meme” in a whole different direction, more in line what what I originally mused about, and it’s not a direction I particularly wish on anyone else. Making this, I suppose, a non-meme meme (and I’m partly in agreement with Lorcan Dempsey’s note: the meme meme is getting a little old. Even if my musings did accidentally kick one off).

As I went to save the post to see what oddities WordPress had done with paragraphs and the like, WordPress did something to me it’s done once or twice before at home, but never in quite such an awkward position: Instead of saving the post and offering me a preview, it went to the logon screen–and when this happens, it’s a “permaloop logon,” just requesting the username and password over and over again until I restart my computer. And it hadn’t autosaved the draft. The whole thing was lost.

Meanwhile, Joshua Neff and Steve Lawson picked up on the theme (let’s call this one a theme rather than a meme, shall we? don’t all snore at once).

I’m not going to follow their lead. I’m going to go with a variant on my original idea; the original original idea turns out to be wholly infeasible. There are too many bloggers who’ve affected what I do, for better and worse, including some that really don’t need any “link love” from the likes of me. And any list I provided would either be way too long or grossly incomplete.

So (geez, Walt, you really do want “But I digress…” on your tombstone, don’t you?) I’m going with a variant of what I originally had in mind. Don’t try this at home, kids–unless you want to.

I came up with five libloggers who are not necessarily superstars in the liblog galaxy (I use the crude measure of having fewer than 300 Bloglines subscribers in the feed I subscribe to) and who I find particularly affecting–people who “speak to me” and influence what I think about things. Doesn’t mean we agree on everything (or anything, necessarily): These are also all people I’ve had sharp disagreements with, but always (I believe) cordial disagreements with. They’re people who make me think and can convince me to rethink a situation.

And I came up with another list of five relatively recent (less than two years blogging, I think), relatively “unsung” (another crude measure: Fewer than 150 Bloglines subscribers in the feed I use), “up and coming” bloggers who similarly affect me. Again, these are people I sometimes/frequently disagree with, who rarely either descend into ad hominem or cause me to descend into ad hominem as part of such disagreements, and who make me think and rethink.

Both lists are wildly incomplete. In many of the cases, the situation is complicated because I converse with these people via email as well as blogs–sometimes even (don’t read this part) Google Chat on the rare occasions I have it running.

Caveats again. Incomplete list. Tends toward slightly lesser-known folks, with one or two obvious exceptions. And, just to make it stranger, I’m blending the two lists and offering them up in “idiot alphabetic” order (that is, sorted by first name), with no additional comments on each one.

Should you choose to take on this absurd assignment, Jim, bend the theme any way that suits you… (this post won’t self-destruct in five seconds, unless WordPress surprises me again, and no, I haven’t seen any of the Cruise missiles, just the old TV show many many many years ago, with its highly polished wooden actors and all).

Here’s the list, and there’s half an hour of my half-day vacation shot…

That’s the wildly incomplete, extremely erratic list. Do with it what you will.

25 Responses to “Five blogger heroes (sort of)”

  1. John Dupuis says:

    Thanks for the list. There are a couple of libloggers on it that I’ve never heard of or only checked out a few times so I really appreciate the opportunity to expand my horizons a bit. I think that concentrating on the non-superstars is the way to go — seeing the same few bloggers over and over in the various lists isn’t that interesting. To me, at least.

  2. Steve Lawson says:


    Just kidding! I mean to say: thanks. I’m not entirely sure I understand the nuances of what you are getting at here, with the two lists and the one list and all, but I feel good about being on that list with those people. The ones I already know and read are good company to count myself among, and the one or two of whom I don’t know, I will certainly look up.

    One of the great pleasures of blogging–as I tried to say in my post on this theme–is getting to be on friendly terms with some exciting, remarkable, challenging, and occasionally cranky people. Thanks for being one of my imaginary friends, Walt.

  3. walt says:

    Don’t worry about the nuances too much. This was a somewhat hasty and over-long rewrite of a shorter and slightly more thoughtful post that WordPress swallowed.

    I think I know what I was getting at. I don’t know that I said it clearly enough to expect others to get it. (Iris Jastram says some of what I was trying to say in her own contribution–much of what’s in this list is about personal connection as well as blogging…).

    Imaginary friends? Interesting choice of terms. You’re welcome, in any case.

  4. Steve Lawson says:

    “Imaginary friends” is what I call people like you and Iris: I think of you as a friend, but I have never actually met you. I have faith that you exist, but sometimes it seems a little odd. I consider it a term of endearment.

  5. 1) Walt, you crazy kid with your rebellious ways! How dare you refuse to follow in our footsteps and instead do your own thing! Anarchist!

    2) I love the original Mission: Impossible show. The ’80s remake and the Tom Cruise movies are all crap. (Well, I never saw Mission: Impossible III, because I so detested the second movie and so detest Tom Cruise.)

    3) I’m very happy you mentioned Ryan and the two Jennifers. I agree, they all deserve more exposure. (I’m also glad you met Steve, but I think he’s a bit more recognized than the other three. I could be wrong about that, though. Steve, you’re kind of a rock star, right?)

  6. Steve Lawson says:

    Right. That’s what I keep telling everyone, anyway.

  7. Dorothea says:

    I did NOT start it, and the proof is right here on this very site.

    The only thing I ever start is trouble anyhow.

  8. jennimi says:

    Walt, I am honored by your shoutout, and your willingness and openness in exploring things with me. I can email you a question and have a response in less than an hour… and you’re a busy A-lister with real print publishing to do.

    I have had some posts and comments swallowed, too, of late. Not by WP, but by what I think was a recent Mozilla “fix”. If my fingers move too quickly to the wrong keys all text is selected and deleted. Nice try blaming Firefox when in fact I am sometimes way too tired to be typing.

    I am familiar with Ryan, Dorothy and Jennifer (all way cool) but now I have some new ones to subscribe to! Yay!

  9. jennimi says:

    And OMgawd, so YOU helped Mark think of OTM? I told him it should be “Off the MARC” – har har har! But this is better.

  10. Mark says:

    I came here to get a link for my own version of this theme I’m taking in another direction and found this post. Thanks, Walt.

    And yes, my lovely friend, Walt did have a hand in it. See the comments in my “Need a suggestion for a domain name” post of 15 July 2006.

  11. walt says:

    OK, Dorothea, let’s say we and Steve L. all played a role in starting it. I mused, he nudged, you acted. Troublemaker.

    Jennimi: At one point I had “five Js” as a list–either first or last names–but didn’t stick with that. If there is a theme to my list, it might be “some of those who may be turning liblogs into the most relevant discussions of library issues” and “some of those who convince me that libraries and librarians have bright futures.” All ten fit into both of those categories, as far as I can tell. (As do whole bunches of others.)

  12. Iris says:

    Steve says “imaginary friends,” I say “eFriends,” but whatever they are, they’re great. And now I have a couple more blogs to look at and add to my list of daily reads.

    Thank you for the mention, Walt. I’m honored. And if you can add my ijastram[at]gmail[dot]com to your chat list, if you want. I promise not to bug you too much.

  13. walt says:

    “eFriends”–not bad.

    I don’t really have a chat list…and I don’t habitually leave Gmail open at home unless I’m using it. Sometimes at work, but not always. So chat availability is unusually limited; I’m still not sure I’m an IM type by nature.

  14. Ryan says:

    Hey! Thanks for the mention. I’m especially glad to see that your list included a good lot of people that I read regularly and a few that I don’t and probably will from now on.

    Too bad I’m a little late coming into this, because everyone else has said pretty much what I want to. It’s always great to have the ability to drop an email or chat your way and get an expert response. Thanks for that.

    I also have to say that because of the Walts of the world, blogging has changed my life. I’ve been around similar collaborative tools, so I did think it would. But there it is. It has now! Thanks.

  15. jennimi says:

    I’m a mac-ie, so “iFriends”. But I shouldn’t take sides. [hee]

  16. Laurie says:

    I just discovered jennimi’s blog a few weeks ago on the librarianbloggers ning. I agree, she’s got a great voice and inspires contemplation.

  17. walt says:

    Now that I’ve scanned blogs (and commented at Mark’s, twice, since I managed to delete the first draft)…

    I haven’t commented at each blog that directly or indirectly mentioned me, but you all have my appreciation: Call this a general “Thanks!”

    jennimi and some others are making this a better [th]|[m]eme than I’d hoped by going off in different directions. Great.

    I see enough to remind me how important the “other channels” are–not only face-to-face meetings (any of you going to be at Washington Library Association?) but also emails etc. Yes, I have responded to emails from people who might have been surprised–and sent email to say things to people that didn’t need to be said as comments. I’ll try to keep doing that; as far as I’m concerned, this is a field of equals, and I’d like to keep it that way.

    (That is: I see no reason to believe that I’m “better” in any sense than a brand-new librarian, MLS student, or other library person who I’ve never heard of–but I also see no reason to believe that anybody in the field is “better” than I am. If I’m willing to converse with Clifford Lynch or George Needham or Henriette Avram as an equal, why wouldn’t I be willing to converse with anybody who’s not being vicious or spamming me as an equal?)

    And now off to do some other things…I would say that all this mutual good will could be too much, but that’s the old curmudgeon speaking up, and I’d like to think I’m younger than that now. (Just as you can’t escape Monty Python and Star Trek, you can’t entirely escape Bob Dylan either. Nor would I want to…)

  18. Sarah Clark says:

    Wow! you take a weekend off from the blogosphere, and look what happens…Seriously, I’m flattered to be included in such company–and thanks for tipping me off to a few new blogs! 🙂

  19. You got to talk to Henriette Avram?


    Yes, Walt, on Twitter somebody snarked that this was a schoolyard exercise in clique formation, but — whatever. I said my piece honestly, with zero intent to suck up or exclude, and I believe the others I’ve read did so as well, and that’s good enough for me.

  20. walt says:

    Dorothea, I think most of us did, which is why I’m not uncomfortable this time around. And it’s an odd sort of clique formation, given the extent to which it’s broadened visibility (or raised visibility for a broader range of good people) rather than focusing on the same few people over and over again…

    Updated: The more I think about it and think about the variety of responses to this [th]]m]|eme, the more my answer to the “clique formation” comment is, well, Bull. The responses have been varied, not a hall of mirrors; people have taken the idea in different directions; if there’s one common theme, it’s “people who encourage me to think.” The fact that some of us choose, sometimes, to say “Thanks” for being named isn’t clique formation, it’s gratitude. (Mary Beth: You’re welcome. All of you: Keep writing things that make me think and rethink…)

    As to Henriette…sure. I was one of RLG’s liaisons to the umbrella group that included MARBI (but met quarterly for a while) from 1980 through 1987, as well as being a MARBI member 1985-1987. I chatted with Henriette Avram a few times during those years, and later at ALA. (We did at one point discuss MARC for Library Use–which we both agreed *should* have been written by someone at LC, but that was never going to happen…)

    Believe it or not, I had a brief conversation with Admiral Grace Hopper once, at the only National Computer Conference I ever attended… but that was years earlier and really counted as a chance encounter.

  21. Thank you so much for the mention! I’m pleased and honored….

  22. Julian says:

    Sorry I’m late to the party (as always). Hence, I don’t expect for this to be read by many. I have thought about this week’s major topic in the biblioblogosphere (even though the blogs mentioned in this theme didn’t have to be specific to our profession) very deeply. Walt wrote the definitive book on why I don’t have my own blog… and the book had very little to do with blogging. In order to blog, I’d have to have something to say, and my lack of original content, as well as purpose and appropriate context for said content, means that I can’t measure up to those who have such content. The theme at hand here made blogging an even more distant dream for me. I’m saying all of this even after reading the March 2007 issue of American Libraries. I would compare it to being the twelfth player on the bench of the Cleveland Cavaliers — being on the same team as LeBron James, but feeling like you’re not good enough to be mentioned in the same media guide as him. Or maybe being a running back on the practice squad for the San Diego Chargers, knowing that you have absolutely no chance to get a touch in an NFL game as long as LaDainian Tomlinson continues to be the second coming of Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Jim Brown combined.

    I read and subscribe to most of the blogs mentioned in this theme. I even comment on them, just as I’m doing here. I’m a bit guilty of not reading everyone’s work. However, I’m too scared to meet any of these great people in person (unless I met them completely outside of the context of the biblioblogosphere) because I didn’t join the club (a very large and diverse club, too) on the ground floor. I will face my first true test of this soon. I’m just afraid of the embarrassment of not having a blog of my own (“WHAT??!?!?! You don’t have a blog?”) — and, for today, not having one by choice.

    Personally, I couldn’t limit my list to five. It would have to include every liblog in existence.

  23. walt says:

    Julian, welcome:

    “However, I’m too scared to meet any of these great people in person (unless I met them completely outside of the context of the biblioblogosphere) because I didn’t join the club (a very large and diverse club, too) on the ground floor.”

    As the Firesign Theater said, “I think we’re all bozos on this bus.” No reason to be afraid of anyone who blogs any more than you’d be afraid of anyone who doesn’t (and I learned long ago that there was no reason to be afraid of anyone in libraryland–although maybe I’d have gone further if I learned proper awe and deference!)

    I’d go the other way: If anyone in blogland strikes you as Too Important to meet, that may be a good reason to ignore them…

    And as for being late to the party, well, this blog is just barely over two years old. Started mostly as a lark (and comment on an unfortunate Gorman generalization)…

  24. Steve Lawson says:


    This is why I put Sarah Houghton-Jan on my list of heroines; when I met her, I approached her as someone she’d never heard of, complimented her on her blog, and she didn’t make me feel like a groupie loser. Other bloggers I met at Internet Librarian 2005 were similar. I’d hope we (human beings, as much as bloggers) could all be so gracious.

    This whole thing can feel a bit “clubby,” and I can understand if some people are put off by that. But, as you say, it is a large and diverse club. Perhaps even large and diverse enough to include the non-bloggers. 🙂

    Remember (we should all remember) Aaron Schmidt’s presentation slide, No one cares that you have a blog. I expect that no one would care (or “mind,” to put it more kindly) that you don’t have a blog.

    – Bozo

  25. daben2 says:

    good:Dorothea, I think most of us did, which is why I?m not uncomfortable this time around. And it?s an odd sort of clique formation, given the extent to which it?s broadened visibility (or raised visibility for a broader range of good people) rather than focusing on the same few people over and over again?